The Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), a national organization headquartered in Bedford, Texas is planning a Mid-Atlantic Conference in Greensboro, N.C. September 24-26, 2014. COPE is a professional service organization whose purpose is to train and equip people who work in criminal justice ministries with inmates, their families, victims, formerly incarcerated people, and delinquent juveniles. Their conferences have been held all over the country and overseas in Africa and Ghana.
The Rev. Reggie Longcrier of Hickory wears many hats in the criminal justice movement, and will be a featured speaker at the COPE Mid-Atlantic Conference on September 25, 2014. Longcrier has been the chaplain of Catawba Correctional Center in Newton for 28 years. He is also the founding Executive Director of Exodus Homes, a faith based United Way agency that provides supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from substance abuse treatment centers and prison.
The three day conference covers many subjects including dealing with family issues, organizational development, using social media for marketing, fund development, human trafficking, pluralism in religious practices within prisons, post incarceration trauma, and many other important topics. Longcrier’s presentation “Non Traditional Faith Based Supportive Housing” is the only one about housing people coming out of jail or prison. It will cover the comprehensive services at Exodus Homes which are primarily provided with guidance and supervision by peer leaders who are residents in the program.
He will show how the housing program partners with many local prisons, and Exodus Missionary Outreach Church where he is the founding pastor. Longcrier will also share how they developed in-house enterprises called Exodus Works that provide vocational training for the unemployed residents while generating income to support the program. Exodus Homes has a national reputation for innovation and effectiveness, and Longcrier has spoken all over the country for years about the unique Exodus model for developing grassroots peer led programs.
Longcrier was incarcerated off and on for 25 years while he battled addiction to cocaine and heroin. Prison ministry programs changed his life, and he tells the story of his transformation in his book “From Disgrace to Dignity” that was published in 2010. Today as chaplain at Catawba Correctional Center in Newton he holds the keys to the prison gate where he was once an inmate.
“I always look forward to the COPE conferences because it brings together the best of the best in criminal justice and prison ministry. I am very honored that they have invited me to present in Greensboro” said Longcrier.
For more information about the COPE conference go to www.copeconnections.org. For more information about Exodus Homes or the book “From Disgrace to Dignity”, contact Rev. Reggie Longcrier at 828-962-8195 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.exodushomes.org.